Inclusion matters, and whether your workplace is strictly virtual or your employees gather in the same physical space each day, it can’t be overlooked. Both types of workplaces can benefit from having an online group chat.
But today, we’re going to focus specifically on how an online group chat can create a more welcoming and inclusive workplace for your entire team from wherever they are.
How to Use an Online Group Chat to Create a More Inclusive Workplace
An online group chat will benefit your team in all kinds of ways. For starters, it makes communication fast, easy, and effective. But it also serves incredibly important purposes like helping welcome new team members, promoting diversity, and fostering inclusivity.
Here are some of the ways it helps you achieve those goals.
Rather than just their names, give employees the opportunity to share more about themselves on their chat profile. They can also add their pronouns, location, fun facts, a cause they’re passionate about, favorite quotes, or any other information they’d like to share. This can help create conversations between team members and, ultimately, team bonding.
Introductions and icebreakers
Online group chat tools often come with admin capabilities that allow you to create multiple channels for different topics, groups, and discussions. As the chat organizer, you can set up an introduction channel to help create a more inclusive workplace. Anytime a new member is added to your team, encourage them to introduce themselves on this channel and have your other team members interact with them this way.
(While we’re on the subject of employee group chats, you won’t want to miss this post next: 7 Rules for Online Group Chats with Coworkers)
Create support groups
On top of creating an introduction channel for employees, consider making separate group chats where employees can go for extra support or resources. For example, you could create groups for the women in your organization, heritage channels, or offer your team members the ability to create their own groups. It’s important to offer your team a number of resources and support them in different ways, and this is just one of the great ways you can start.
Employee recognition can have a really positive effect on employee engagement. It’s also important for creating an inclusive workplace. Use your online group chat to celebrate personal or professional achievements within your team. Give team members the opportunity to congratulate and celebrate one another whenever possible! From birthdays to personal milestones and professional achievements, your team will feel connected, engaged, and included when their success is celebrated.
Create office hours
Has your team transitioned to a strictly virtual setting over the past year? In the past, your team members might have knocked on your door when they needed to talk to you about something important. But now, you could be miles apart each day. Make sure your team members know they can still contact you when they have questions, concerns, or comments. An online group chat is an awesome way to do this.
Let your team members know they can message you privately on the online group chat whenever they want. This is beneficial for a few reasons, including that many people are more likely to open up and share this way than they are in person or over the phone.
Better yet, reach out individually to your team members on a regular basis to open up a dialogue with them. This helps spot and more importantly, address, certain issues before they become bigger problems.
Other tips for creating an inclusive workplace
An online group chat is a great place to start. But there’s a lot of work that needs to be put into creating inclusive workplaces. Inclusive environments are ones where employees feel connected, supported, valued, and engaged. With this greater sense of belonging comes higher participation rates and more employee engagement. All of these benefit not only the employees, but the organizations themselves.
A big part of inclusion starts with education. The more you can educate yourself and your team members, the better. Seek out opportunities to educate the entire team whenever possible. This could also mean creating a channel in the group chat where employees can share helpful resources and other learning opportunities.
Another critical component of inclusion is effective communication and listening. Just because your workplace is now (or always was) virtual, doesn’t mean communication isn’t as important as ever. With online group chat tools like Swift Chat, you can empower team members to use their voices while also supporting and encouraging them to be their true selves at work.
Do you want to learn more about creating inclusive workplaces beyond introducing an online group chat for your employees? This article from SHRM has plenty of other tips: 6 Steps for Building an Inclusive Workplace.